fitness friday

Put the phone down for a moment and check to see if your neck is wrecking your golf game

February 02, 2024


You probably don't give this area of your body much thought when it comes to training for golf, but your neck is super important, and super involved, in any golf swing.

"Golf is a neck-rotation sport," says Golf Digest Certified Fitness Trainer Dee Tidwell, who trains athletes at Colorado Golf Fitness at "The Studio" in Denver. "How much you can rotate your neck can impact your backswing and downswing, and if that rotation is limited, it's likely to be a negative impact."

If you don't think rotation is good for your game, just check the swings of a couple of Hall of Famers—Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam.


Nicklaus famously rotated his head away from the ball before even starting back with the club. This not only helped put him in a position to deliver his full mass into the golf ball at impact (the old "stay behind the ball" concept), it also allowed him to fully coil, building and storing a massive amount of power for his downswing.

Sorenstam, meanwhile, let her head rotate toward the target in the through-swing. This helped her fully release the club past impact, delivering as much speed as she could generate. In 2003, Sorenstam was the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour, averaging just under 270 yards.

Now that we hope you understand that good neck mobility will likely improve your swing, let's check to see if all that texting and surfing you do on your phone has hurt your ability to rotate your neck. Tidwell, one of Golf Digest's 50 Best Fitness Trainers in America, has a test you can do, and a couple of corrective exercises to help, if the muscles around your cervical spine are tight and limiting.

If you're interested in learning more about Golf Digest's Fitness-Trainer Certification, click the link.